Understanding Class Action Lawsuits

A Class Action Lawsuit is filed by a single individual or a small group of people on behalf of a much larger group. The cause of the lawsuit usually comes from a common set of facts or actions that lead to damages to everyone in that larger group. Class Action cases include product defects (e.g. vehicle defects and lemon cars), employment cases (e.g. violation of working hours or wages), medical cases (e.g. injury from pharmaceutical products), security cases (e.g. personal data breach), environmental disaster cases (e.g. release of toxic chemicals or hazardous materials) and so on.

Certifying the Class Action Lawsuit

A single person filing this type of a lawsuit is called the Lead Plaintiff. There can be more than one Lead Plaintiffs who have suffered similar injury or injuries. The Lead Plaintiffs have the advantage to consult with the attorney of record regarding settlement offers and have the privilege to accept or reject settlement agreements.

The most important step is for the class attorney to get the “class” certified. Certification means that the court finds a class action to be the best way to handle multiple claims, it is impractical for the plaintiffs to sue individually, that the case has common and similar causes and that a single remedy offered would fairly compensate everyone in the class.

Once the class action is certified all members of the class, everyone that suffered damages, are notified. All individuals, class members, affected by the cause of the lawsuit become a part of the Class Action unless they decide to opt out.

Compensatory and Punitive Damage Awards

There  are two types of awards from Class Action Lawsuit: Compensatory damage awards and Punitive damage awards. Both types of damages award offer compensation to the plaintiff(s) of the case, yet the difference lies in the way they are awarded.

Compensatory damages  are awarded to the plaintiff for losses or injuries resulting  from the actions of the defendant, such as loss of income, property damage, body injuries,  and so on. For instance, in civil litigation pertaining to a car accident, the compensatory damage awards can be allocated for car repair and medical bills.

Punitive damage awards suggest monetary award that the defendant pays to the plaintiff in addition to compensatory damages for his or her reckless of negligent behavior. They are designed to discourage the defendant from engaging in similar behavior in the future. For example, in the above-mentioned car accident case, if the defendant was driving  under influence (DUI) at the time, then the plaintiff can pursue punitive damage awards against the defendant.

Distribution of damages

At the end of a class action suit, the court divides the entire recovery . The judge develops a plan with the plaintiff’s attorney for dividing recovery, awarded in the case.

The Lead Plaintiff gets the amount in accordance with his/her participation in the lawsuit and the remaining recovery is divided among other Class Action Lawsuit members. The Margarian Law firm has an extensive successful experience in Class Action cases  and prides itself on getting compensations for their clients. Contact The Margarian Law firm’s experienced lawyers for the most profitable settlement of your case.

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